UMKC student in crosswalk struck and killed by car

The KCStar has reported that a UMKC student was struck by a car while crossing at a crosswalk on 53rd and Troost in Kansas City.

UMKC has set up a fund to aid the student, Pei Chen, a 20-year-old freshman piano major from China.

Chen, who had been treated at St. Luke's Hospital since being critically injured in the February 3rd collision, died today, February 14th. According to the Kansas City Star story, police are investigating the situation to see what charges, if any, should be brought against the driver who killed Chen.

Troost is a four-lane road, and traffic in the first lane southbound lane had stopped--as required by Missouri law--to allow the woman to cross. She checked northbound traffic , and when it looked clear, was proceeding. A southbound vehicle tried to pass the stopped vehicles in the first lane by moving into the second lane. This vehicle struck the pedestrian, causing very serious injuries.

The Star's Feb. 5th update reported that the student was still in critical condition, with very serious injuries, and mentioned that the crosswalk has prominent flashing yellow lights. KMBC's web site has a few additional details and a photo of the van.

By law, vehicles must yield to pedestrians crossing on marked and unmarked crosswalks. Furthermore, if cars in one lane are stopped for a pedestrian, cars in the other lane must stop, too. Kansas City police indicated that the driver will probably receive a citation for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

The KMBC's web site adds this:
Students say they know the street is busy. Many dart across heavy traffic every day.

"I guess the safest way is just to run into the middle when there is a spot open here, and then run across again when you see a spot open on the other side," said Anita Vijayakumar, a medical student at the university.

Another student said he is aware of the need for caution when crossing Troost.

"Traffic's usually pretty heavy, but usually somebody stops. I usually wait for a little while and then it's clear," said Jordan Keiser, who also attends Rockhurst.

Missouri State law says this:
the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way . . . to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk.

Crosswalks may be "marked" or "unmarked". Every intersection is considered to have an "unmarked" crosswalk.

Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.

Every driver . . . shall exercise the highest degree of care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway

All U.S. cities, including Kansas City, have similar or identical laws.